BACKSTAGE BYTES – by MARIE J. KILKER, Ph.D. – Winter 2022 in through SPRING
DEREK HAN may no longer be with us through wonderful performances at La Music since his passing in 2021, but he will be with Sarasota audiences in spirit on April 3 this year. A Derek Han Memorial Concert then will feature Special Guest Wu Han, his friend, performing on his Steinway. Wu Han comes to La Musica from Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society in New York City. The Steinway’s use is a donation from Derek’s family, since there are no such pianos available in area venues. The concert will be at Sarasota Opera House, which begins selling tickets for the performance in mid-February.
DAVID BAGAUS is still cantor at Masses on weekends and holidays as well as trumpeter for special services at St. Martha’s Church in Sarasota but no longer gives private trumpet lessons. He used to do the lessons and a few gigs both near and farther from his home in Bradenton but has cut down most activity and even short travel.
JO MORELLO has her play with music, LIL & SATCHMO, being performed at Jubilee Theater, Fort Worth, TX, from January 28 through February 27. The show, which premiered in Sarasota a year ago, highlights the talent of Lil Hardin who was second wife of Louis Armstrong. Lil helped him to musical fame but didn’t share as much notoriety as he has gained. Jo Morello hopes her play will help to correct some of that.
TARA McNAMARA is the new press helper as Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Asolo Repertory Theater. Sasha Goodrich, who stepped in to help publicize and market Asolo Rep’s Terrace Theatre last summer, is back home with her young one and enjoying that now-toddler. Tara McNamara is, at least tremporarily, handling press relations also for FSU/Asolo Conservatory after the departure of Hannah Levitte, whom we knew for just a short while but did appreciate.
ROSS BOEHRINGER, FSU/ Asolo Conservatory grad, is back in town and has already done a stint for The Players. Ross has been acting during and since his Conservatory days, often with local community theaters but also back as a regular with the former Starlite Players. He also spent a few years at Asolo Rep’s production facilities. He most recently worked out in California and many here hope Florida will win him back for good.
ANTHONY J. HAMILTON, Conservatory grad of 2018, has been back in school–but as a Guest Professor in the Western Michigan University Theatre Department from Fall 2021 through Spring 2022.
BRENDAN RAGAN and SUMMER DAWN WALLACE have been in Sarasota almost since their days at the Asolo Conservatory. Both head the downtown Urbanite, directing and appearing in the productions. But Summer has done far more work in town–both at New College and at Asolo–than when a student, where she didn’t have many stand-out roles. She’s currently performing a role in OUR TOWN at Asolo Rep, as is FSU/Conservatory grad Alex Benito Rodriguiez.
VENICE THEATRE probably had the most interesting cast try-outs so far this year. They had to announce two doggy auditions. Yes, a dog is needed in one of the scheduled plays. The play that’s also getting a second chance at Venice Theatre is HAMLET, which had to be cancelled last year. Murray Chase seems determined to present this one. Good.
BOBBIE HAMILTON reports new successes with FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN, the children’s book by her late mother and theater critic Jean Reed, now available in versions portraying the men as Black, White, and Hispanic. It’s been accepted in six Florida county library systems and is doing well on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million.
CAROLE KLEINBERG ia in the news with her second season of Sarasota Jewish Theater plays. Starting with ROSE, they run in February, March (THE INTERVIEW), and April (TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE) for a week each as a project of The Jewish Federation. But did you know that Carole received a special prize from the JF for a best new enterprize in 2021? Like Carole, her chosen plays “reflect the Jewish experience and stimulate the mind and heart”–and the latter stiumulation doesn’t just belong to Jewish audience members. Tickets and full details are available at JEDSRQ.org/SJT.
R.I.P. musician and singer Michael J. Brassard, who passed away in late November but was memorialized at 2022’s start. Although a businessman, Michael also fronted many rock ‘n roll bands since the 1950s. Mike & The Ravens was his first well known job, best known as the major pre-Beattles group. R.I.P. also to Louise Stinespring, who also left Sarasota for good in November. Louise did acting, directing, and dramaturgy as well as teaching theater in New York, Texas, and locally. A memorial is proposed for this Spring.
DAVID COYLE, who worked with Banyan Theatre and SaraSolo here, died in California with family, moving there after he suffered a spinal injury here and was not able to heal. One of his survivers is the brother who had joined him here for a short time a few years back. David is much missed.
JIM TAYLOR, everybody’s favorite local theater box office manager (especially for Banyan and The Players), survived a massive heart attack and has had the approriate operation. Now he’s hoping he’ll at least be able to be in an audience, if not a box office, soon. He is under the 24 hour care of partner Fred Hoyt at Village Gardens.
JACK GILHOOLEY has also survived both bodily breaks and strokes to be in rehabilitation, as I write. He is now able to stand and take a few steps, with assistance. Jack’s is as determined to get well and move well again as he’s always been to start writing a new play. How might he dramatize this latest experience?